“I knew that if we came out and played like we know we can play that we can win games like this,” senior quarterback Tyler Osterman said after the game. “We came out stronger and more intense than we’ve come out for any other game this year. It’s great that we can do that this late in the season and I hope we can keep the ball rolling.”
Osterman threw for two touchdowns (135 yards on 10-for-16 passing), and ran for another (64 yards on 8 carries). Ben Leahy had two interceptions, and senior running back Jared Ferguson closed the deal for the Hornets with three rushing touchdowns (120 yards on 20 carries).
“Fergie had a great off season,” Monroe head coach Jason Krause explained. “Then he got injured and he got kind of down on himself. But from week four he just turned things on like I knew he was going to. He plays on both sides of the ball and he kinda put us on his back saying, ‘Let’s go!’”
Everyone knows that scores can’t talk, but if this one could it would be telling you that the game wasn’t even remotely that close.
Monroe took the opening kickoff and smartly drove the length of the field, but they failed to convert on a fourth-and-2 and Canal Winchester (9-2) took the ball over on downs. Three plays later they punted. On first-and-10 from the Indian’s 15-yard line Osterman found Braden McMonigle in the right flat and he dove into the end zone for a touchdown.
Monroe kicked off and on their first play from scrimmage Taylor Simpson fumbled the ball away to the Hornet’s Stuart Kehl. On the next play, Ferguson scored from 29 yards out.
CW went three and out and just four plays later Ferguson scored again–this time from the 6 yard line–to make the score 21-0.
The Indians got the ball back, but on their second play from scrimmage Jason Osterman (brother of Tyler) picked off a Travis Stevenson pass, and that set up yet another Ferguson touchdown jaunt.
After a strong kickoff return Canal Winchester got the ball back near midfield, but they turned the ball over on downs and the opportunistic Hornets eventually scored on an 18-yard Tyler Osterman keeper.
With 8:29 left in the second quarter the score was 34-0, and Monroe had out gained the Indians 265 yards to (12). Canal Winchester’s talented senior running back Tony Davis would end this night with three rushing touchdowns (150 yards on 20 carries) and CW would eventually get 252 yards of total offense, but none of it happened when this game was on the line.
“We got a chance to come out and get on the board fast again this week and our defense played well,” Krause said. “We knew that they were a very talented offensive team and our defense knew that they had their hands full. But we stuffed them early and that gave us a chance to get the ball back, get things rolling, and get some points on the board early.
“Our defense has really picked up the pace the last few weeks and that’s made the difference for us. Getting the ball back in good field position gives our offense a chance to make things happen. So, we’re going to watch this film, see what needs to be fixed, and then move on to Indian Hill.”
Monroe exploited their obvious speed advantage, both on offense and defense.
“We flew around a bit tonight. We thought that our team speed was going to be a bonus on this fast turf, and I think that it was. And our kids are hungry. They want to play next week. We were talking this week and Canal Winchester reminds us of our ’05 team, in the way that they had never been this far before, and that they are so excited.
“They have a bunch of guys that like to play hard and fast, but it’s hard to overcome turnovers. They (CW) had a few last week against Valley View and we were hoping that they’d lay it on the turf for us tonight. Turnovers have helped us this year and turnovers have hurt us this year, but coming into the game one thing we knew for certain was we had to take care of the football.”
The senior class at Monroe has seen it all. When they were in junior high the big kids never won a game. When they were freshman they won two just games. Their sophomore year the Hornets were regional champions. Last year they lost to Jonathan Alder in the regional semi-final, and this year they are still in contention to win it all.
Over the years they’ve had a most excellent time, but they have never won the big one.
“It’s all up to us,” Taylor Simpson (2 TD receptions, 15 and 29 yards) shouted over the rowdy post game crowd. “Before the game tonight everyone was on the same page. Everyone was fired up. Now we can move past Canal Winchester and think about Indian Hill.”